Michael J. Martineck
Jack Oliver is the youngest son in his family and feels he isn't important. He is tired of all the hand-me-downs, so takes a job as a paper boy to earn some money of his own. There's a problem on his route, though. This summer, Dill Vernon chases him to cause trouble. On the afternoon of the strangest day in Jack's life, Dill herds Jack through a mud puddle.
Carlin's family is new to Strawberry Island. She hasn't met anyone. She sees Jack each day when he delivers the newspaper. He arrives at her house after the mudbath. She helps him deliver the rest of the papers. They get stopped at Mr. Bough's odd, smelly house. Mr Bough is called away on an errand and asks Jack to watch the house for him.
Jack and Carlin find themselves caught and agree. They are a nosier than they should be. They have no idea what trouble they will find. Once they find it, Jack is transformed. How are they going to put Jack back how he belongs? Can they stop the strangeness they have let go?
This fantasy novel if for older children or young teens. Martineck is trying to pull in the Harry Potter crowd. He delivers a enjoyable story with an interesting twist. It took me a while to realize that a misspelling was not a badly spelled word. Instead it is a magic spell gone wrong. Jack's essence is replaced by a devilish sprite taking his body. Jack is transferred...well, I don't want to ruin the surprise.
I gave this to my 16-year-old daughter, but she couldn't get past page 7. It wasn't making sense to her. She is at that stage if it doesn't grab her by page 3, she doesn't go further. Read further than that. It's a fun book.
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